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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

solomon proves that law professors are liberal hacks?

Johnathan Adler on Bench Memos has a post about how the Solomon case outcome proves that the cornucopia of prominent law professors who joined the FAIR v. Rumsfeld litigation either "live in ivory towers oblivious to the real world" or "proceeded with the case because they put their political views . . . ahead of their legal judgement." (Of course this assumes that the Court got it right. While I think it did, and the reasoning is very persuasive, this may not be true of every unanimous opinion it issues.)

This gets at the dual-role of law professors. They aren't judges who are required to divorce their political views from their analysis, but they aren't quite politicians either. As teachers, you would expect there is some duty of law professors to teach from their head and not from their heart. But as lawyers, professors are encouraged (if not expected) to get involved in litigation for the causes they believe in -- and we would never criticize a lawyer for taking a dog of a position if it's the best he can do for his side.

I think that either the professors were simply wrong in their analysis of the law (though their political prejudices may have clouded their reasoning), or they were acting appropriately in their roles as advocates. If, however, they were to teach the positions they took for political reasons, while understanding their falsity, it would be most pernicious.

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